If the title of this post was not already obvious it's about sleep/sleep training. Those of you who know me know how much of a challenge sleep has been for me and Asher in the first 11 months of his life. I am now proud to say my little man sleeps 13 to 14 hours a night and has a nice 1 ½ to 2 hour nap every day.
No doubt your average set of new parents will hear a great deal about the amount of sleep they are about to lose out on. That said no amount of warning from friends or family alike can prepare you for that loss. Sleep is not something you can bank…it’s just not.
I am no expert on the subject of sleep training and one thing doesn't work for every baby or every parent. This is simply a tale of my efforts and experiences.
So here we go...
We co-slept with Asher for the first 3 months of his life - he was colicky and I needed to be able to get every little bit of sleep I could. At about 3.5 months we moved Asher into his own room. He continued to wake up every 3 hours or so and I continued to go in and nurse him every single time. I insisted that we not use the “cry-it-out” method. There were a couple times when I was at my wits end I would let Asher cry for about 5 minutes or so and he would cry so hard that he would start choking. This, of course, made me feel like a horrible mother so I continued to respond each time he needed me. My body started to get used to that routine and it wasn't so bad.
At the end of March this year we moved into a new house and Asher transitioned very well, keeping up with his every 3-4 hours a night. It wasn’t until mid-May that I started to worry: my return to work was looming and there had been no improvements in Asher's sleep patterns. As badly as Wes wanted to help me Asher did not want Daddy, he wanted BOOB! So every night I would go in, nurse Asher and cry...poor me, what was I to do?
I started to get superstitious about sleep. Every time someone would ask about how Asher was sleeping I would SNAP and say "I do not want to talk about it!”. Or Wes and I would be lying in bed, about to go to sleep, and he would say "he's doing good tonight;” almost before he could finish his sentence Asher would cry and I would whip the covers off, get out of bed, glare at Wes and say "way to go." I was going crazy – something here just HAD to give.
I had already read many different sleep solution books, trying different techniques here and there (as if there was some magical solution or something).
One night in June I put Asher to bed at 7pm (his usual bed time) and he woke up at about 11pm (again, par for the course). I went in to nurse him, laid him back down, went into my room to go to sleep and...he started crying. *sigh* Wes and I looked at each other and decided to just wait 5 minutes and see what he did. After 5 minutes he was sleeping again. I was so surprised. At 4am Asher woke up again and I did the same thing...though this time I waited 10 or15 minutes before he went back to sleep. Was this it? I was giddy with the thought of sleeping for 8 hours straight.
It has now been about 5 months since that breakthrough, and admittedly, there have been some bumps in the road. I am back at work now and so grateful that Asher has transformed into an amazing sleeper. It took us almost a year, and a few tears, but what is a year out of my life for my adorable little guy?
Next challenge: Sleepover at the grandparents...